[This is a rebroadcast of a treasured Porn Valley Observed post from 2008]
Most people are here on this planet because their parents have sex. Yet polite society looks down on people who have sex for a living being parents.
But at least one porn mom, Belladonna, is proving that being sexy on camera and a good mother off camera aren’t mutually exclusive.
“You have to love your child no matter what,” Belladonna said.
Belladonna, one of the world’s most popular porn stars, has spent the last several years directing and starring in films like “My Ass Is Haunted” and “Cock Happy” that have redefined the definition of what is dirty.
With jet black hair (when she hasn’t shaved it), tattoos and a signature space between her two front teeth, the woman raised in Utah as Michelle Sinclair continues to be the Los Angeles porn world’s hardcore ambassador.
And Belladonna is also a happily married mother of a 3-year-old daughter.
While many porn stars are also devoted parents, most do not advertise it or mention it to fans. Broadcasting their maternity might make them seem less accessible as fantasy material. Also, like mainstream celebrities, they want to protect their children from unwanted attention.
One internationally recognized performer declined this interview about juggling her roles as an adult actress and a mom by saying, “People know I have a kid and that’s it. They know nothing about him, and I will have it stay that way.”
Belladonna is different, and it may have something to do with how public her private life has been since a 2003 interview with Diane Sawyer on “ABC News: Primetime.” The protective porn industry called it a “hatchet job,” but Belladonna says the tears she cried in the interview were real and the things she said about the porn world’s often predatory nature were true, though there was some “creative editing.”
“[The Primetime special] would sometimes cut me off when I’d actually said a lot more, making it look like things were worse than they were,” she said, adding that she would make a statement and qualify it with a “but also…” but that ABC only aired the negative part.
Prior to the special, Belladonna had already been noteworthy for the extremity of her performances, delightedly dominating other women and taking all manner of diverse objects in her ass, including baseball bats. To this day, younger porn performers talk of Belladonna with awe.
“Belladonna is my hero,” said bite-sized dominatrix Aiden Starr.
“I would love to work with Belladonna,” said Jenny Hendrix, no stranger to matters of the ass. “She scares me a little.”
But after the show aired, Belladonna received a measure of celebrity that has placed her – along with Jenna Jameson, Jesse Jane and Tera Patrick – on the short list of porn’s household names.
When she became pregnant in 2004, she moved back to Utah.
“I wanted to be closer to my mother and family,” she said.
Belladonna knew that her mother, a nurse, would probably be a good resource. But she continued to film scenes with women as her belly expanded, flying back and forth to L.A. when work came up.
“My family knows what I do,” she said. “I’ve always been up front with them and most of them accept it. I can’t imagine not being able to go back home when I need to.”
And she knew that was a safety net she wanted to create for her daughter.
“I knew that I wanted to be a mother my daughter would know was there for her, no matter what,” she said.
She was not nervous about the birth.
“Since I was pregnant, I was very excited to be a mom,” she said. “Being the second of seven, I was never scared about changing diapers.”
Her daughter was born in early 2005 (“During AVN,” Belladonna said. “I missed the convention that year”) and Belladonna and her husband and business partner, Aiden Kelly (“you could also call me ‘Mr. Belladonna,’” he said), bought a home in Los Angeles.
Naturally, Belladonna took a break from performing following the birth, and until recently restricted her on-screen partners to women. But now she shoots scenes at least twice a week in her Studio City office and home, while her daughter is either at preschool or with a nanny.
“I can’t imagine having kids and not being around for them,” she said, and proceeded to describe the non-porn events of her day.
“Each morning we wake up at about 7,” she said. Her daughter’s bedroom is up a short flight of stairs from where Belladonna and her hubby sleep in the modern, several story house. “We go downstairs and she stands on this thing called a Learning Tower where she can be at my level when we make breakfast. We make pancakes and sometimes oatmeal.
“Then she takes a bath and gets dressed. The nanny comes in around 10, and any shooting we do usually begins at 11 and ends by 3.”
There was a time when Belladonna worried what other parents would think. Contrary to what “Desperate Housewives” would have you believe, all women in L.A. do not look like porn stars, and Belladonna stands out.
“Sometimes I would take deep breaths when meeting other parents,” she said, “because I knew that ‘What do you do?’ is a question people ask pretty soon. And it’s not like I dress with cleavage showing or I wear a lot of make-up, but I’ve got the tattoos, and I know some of the husbands recognize me…”
But the first time Belladonna met another mom and told her, when asked what she did, that she “made adult movies,” the response was both a surprise and a relief.
“Really?’” Belladonna said, imitating the mother. “‘My husband wanted to do that, too! That’s great money.’”
Belladonna reads to her daughter every day. Among their favorite books are the works of whimsical poet/artist Calef Brown, including “Flamingos on the Roof” and “Polkabats and Octopus Slacks.” Other favorites include “P.U. – Is That You, Bertie?” (“It’s about farting,” she said), “Oh No, Not Ghosts” and “I Like Myself.”
That her daughter likes herself is important to Belladonna, who went through a period where she didn’t like herself. She admits that she once suffered from depression and feels “a little obsessed” about letting her daughter know that anything she does is OK with her mother.
“I knew that whatever I did my parents would love me,” she said, “and I feel that way about my daughter. This is her life; she can do whatever she wants with it because it’s hers.”
Including be a porn performer herself?
“I know that I’m a good person and a great mother,” she said. “And I’m a porn star. But my expectations for her are high: I really want her to be herself and be loved for it.”
Belladonna and her hubby don’t have broadcast TV in the house (“I don’t want it to be a babysitter”), but among the movies the family watches are “Return to Oz” and “Neverending Story.” They sing “You Are My Sunshine” and “There’s A Hole In The Bucket.” (“And she knows when I get the words wrong,” Belladonna said.)
And every time her daughter looks in the mirror, Belladonna has instructed her to say “I love you.”
“Sometimes she goes through a stubborn phase or she doesn’t want to listen,” Belladonna said. “But I get it; I was that kid too. Patience is really important – for me and for her.”
On Sunday, Belladonna will be happy if she receives a Mother’s Day card, but the family doesn’t really celebrate holidays.
“Except for Halloween,” Belladonna said. “But my daughter is never scared.”